Letter: Incredible kindness after a tragic event
On Jan. 16, 2013, a horrible and tragic event occurred in my family’s life. We suffered the loss of four amazing people. In the days that followed, we were showered with hope, prayers, and of course financial help. We had lost everything and to see how many people reached out to us in our time of need really helped us get through those first few weeks. We had received so many donations of clothes, money, etc., that when we went to check out the balance in one account that was opened by our workplace, we started to cry.
It was just amazing how much money was raised to help us in our time of need. After I had my stay at the hospital, we were given the chance to stay in the Comfort Inn for a few days. After our stay was no longer paid, we had a local business pay for a few more days there. Eventually, our stay at the hotel was over and we had been informed that a local woman, who was in real estate, was offering us a few months’ stay in a rental place of hers. It was a lovely farmhouse located on the Ware River; I would like to give a warm "Thank You" to Ms. Shannon French for this opportunity. After our stay ended there, we moved into another house located in Carter’s Cove. This was made possible by the Southern Trade Realty Company and two nice ladies, Patty Stroup and Gabriela Patterson. We were notified at the beginning of August that they were not going to be able to extend our lease, so we found another house through Abbitt Realty, and with the help of Ms. Jeanie Wood to push our application through the approval process so quickly, we were able to move into the house and still had enough time to get the other one ready for the final inspection. I would also like to thank my church, Bellamy United Methodist, and my son’s school, Bethel Elementary, for their support.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to recognize a few wonderful ladies that had set up a bunch of fundraising events for us—Ms. Crystal Bowman, Ms. Heather Powell Rains, Ms. Chrissy Mingee and Ms. Mary Atkinson—and also the Iron Skulls for contributing to one of the fundraising events, doing way more than a friend should ever have to do in a friend’s lifetime. When these girls heard what happened to our family, they did not let their emotions get in the way of setting up all of the events for us; they just pushed through.
I would also like to thank a bunch of family members for being with us through everything. When we were at our lowest, they were there to make decisions for us and kept going right along our side. Donald Grogan, for being a great father to my husband and your daughters; also for being a great father-in-law and helping to save my life! Cela Knebl, for taking on the responsibility of financial, medical, and nurturer for my father-in-law, and being there for all of us when we needed comforting. Angela and Dennis Gunn, for having to help set up the funeral arrangements and contacting friends and family to let them know what had happened. Curtiss and Becky Goins, for having to make the most difficult decision of all when it came down to having to decide what was going to happen to the boys; and, of course, also being there for comfort as well. Debra Jones, for running us around on errands and just to even get us out of the house so we wouldn’t go stir crazy, until my ankle healed. Howard P. Jones, Howard L. Jones and Brittni Jones, I am sorry that you had to see the house that night, Little Sis, but I know that they were in heaven before the fire got upstairs. Thank you for coming to see me in the hospital right afterwards.
I would also like to thank everyone else who was there to help with the financial, mental and prayer support. We wouldn’t have gotten this far unless your outpouring of generosity was there for us, to help encourage us to continue on.
I saved this very important person for last, because he has been the greatest help for me being the Strong, Whole-hearted Woman that I am today. I would like to thank my husband, Thomas Grogan, for not leaving my side after finding out what happened while you were at work. I would also like to send my apologies to him, just because I feel that, being a mother, daughter-in-law and wife, it was my responsibility to either stay with those boys or to turn around and go right back in after they pulled me out. During the week after the fire, I did not want to get out of bed every day, but you made me. I did not feel like eating anything, but you made me. I feel that if you did not stay by my side this entire time to help me get through, then I would still not be here today. Yes, I did think about it, but that was short-lived.
To my mother-in-law, Virginia Grogan, thank you for doing what you did for us. You are a hero in my eyes, and forever will be.
A mother and grateful daughter-in-law
of four wonderful angels